Guests are seated at a wedding ceremony at Spruce Mountain Ranch in Larkspur. (From The Hip Photography/Courtesy of Spruce Mountain Ranch)
For Coloradans eager to tie the knot in style, scheduling a high-end wedding before 2023 could come with a financial boon.
That’s because new state legislation provides a 10% cash rebate for certain “hard costs” associated with eligible meetings and events, including weddings, that take place from July 1, 2021, through Dec. 31, 2022.
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The Colorado Tourism Office is partnering with Metropolitan State University to run the Meeting and Events Incentive Program included in House Bill 21-1263, which the Colorado General Assembly passed earlier this year.
To qualify, an event must generate at least 25 paid nights in a hotel room or other lodging establishment. The event’s total hard costs — including audio and visual technology; speakers, DJs and performing acts; event space or venue rental; tables, decor and tents; food and non-alcoholic beverages — must total at least $35,000.
That’s actually not far above the average U.S. wedding, which cost $28,000 in 2019, according to an analysis by The Knot.
Besides weddings, events eligible for a state rebate could include business meetings, conferences, festivals or exhibitions.
“Downtowns, destinations, local governments, and small businesses across Colorado have been hit hard by the loss of business meetings and special events,” Jill Corbin, interim director of the tourism office, said in a statement announcing the program’s launch. “This program incentivizes meeting and event planners to book in Colorado, thereby bolstering the tourism economy and industry and supporting thousands of small businesses in every corner of the State.”
For events occurring between July 1 and Sept. 15, applications must be submitted with the tourism office no later than three weeks after the event took place. For events after Sept. 15, organizers must apply for the rebate at least 45 days ahead of time.
Approximately $9.3 million is available for rebates. The maximum rebate for a single event is $100,000.
A bipartisan group of legislators worked to pass HB-1263, which was part of the Colorado Comeback stimulus plan funded with higher-than-expected tax revenue. The bill’s sponsors included Reps. Dylan Roberts, an Avon Democrat, and Matt Soper, a Delta Republican, along with Sen. Robert Rodriguez, a Denver Democrat, and Dennis Hisey, a Republican from Fountain.
Gov. Jared Polis, a Democrat, signed HB-1263 into law June 14.
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